Phnom Penh in Cambodia TO Can Tho in Vietnam by bus

At the end of 2016, we were in Phnom Penh. We had a great experience at Siem-Reap and our hosts at Bayon Villa, ensured that our first visit to Cambodia should make us visit again. The plan was to go to Vietnam next and specifically to the Mekong Delta. Our return flight to India was from Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, as it is now called.

In the Mekong Delta region, we were looking at staying for a couple of days at Can Tho. Now, if you look at the map, you would see the location of Saigon and Can Tho.

Phnom Penh, Saigon and Can Tho

So anyone would recommend that after Phonm Penh, we should go directly to ‘Can Tho’ and then move upwards to ‘Saigon’. So we created our itinerary, booked hotels and left the last mile planning to a later day. When it was time to plan the transfers, we started looking for connections, only to discover that there is no good direct way to reach Can Tho from Phnom Penh.

We called up our hotel in Phnom Penh as well as Can Tho, but no luck. Everyone shared the bus routes but all of them were going to Can Tho, via Saigon. It seemed so lame and dumb to do that. When everything fails, Internet comes as a savior so we started scavenging sites like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and what not. To our luck, we found one hard-to-believe post saying that there is a bus that goes directly. But it was an old link with no recent activity.

So we jotted down all the info, crossed our fingers and hoped that when we reach Phnon Penh, we would be able to find this company.

If you have read this far, then probably you are like me. So to cut it short, we asked our hotel guy to confirm the details we had very sincerely jotted down and carried with us. Unfortunately, the phone number is not valid any more. The travel desk at hotel were 100 % clear that there is no direct bus.

Well, you do what needs to be done. We just decided to land at the street and find the office in person and confront the possibility. And there it was! There indeed is a bus which can take you directly to Can Tho.

Since it was hard for me to find this info, I thought I would share a detailed write-up to save some anxiety for my fellow travelers.

So here’s a 10 pointer guide.

1. There IS a daily bus and the address of the bus company is:

Bus Express & Travel (Cambodia) Co. Ltd
#09 DEo, Street 230, Phsar Deumkor Commune
Tuoi Kork District, Phnom Penh
Tel : 00 855 972 119 339 – 099 790 443

And in case you are on the other side in Vietnam, then the office address is:

107 Tran Hung Dao – Q. NK
– 38C Nguyen Van Linh, P. HungLoi,
Q. Ninh Kiey – TP. Can Tho
Tel : 84 918 262 053
84 710 3832 203

Business Card

2. The office in Phnom Penh  is on Street 230 but it would be hard to locate so first ask your Tuk-Tuk guy to reach the junction of Street 336,215 and 230. There is a Gas Station there. Start walking on 230. The bus office is right opposite Sak Sit Dental Clinic and Lily 6466 Salon.

Bus Company

3. Get in and show your intent. The guy would make a note on this big white board. The fair is USD 16 per person and you pay on the day of travel.

Non-Digital reservation

4. On the day of journey, we arrived the same office which was to be the point of departure. The bus was standing there, ready to go. At/About 5.30 we observed two food vendors right in front of the bus. I guess they must be coming daily so it is OK to not plan for any food. We carried our food and realised that it was not worth the curation.

Food Kiosk in the morning

5. The bus is a bit run-down. The bus starts at 6.00 but we were repeatedly told to be there at 5.00. I think that is an overkill, if you have already reserved your place. I would imagine that if you show-up by 5.30 you should be good. We were the ONLY foreigners in the bus and it was not full. When you show-up they would then take the money (USD 16 per person) and give you the receipt.

The bus

Ticket to Can Tho

They would also take your passports.

7. The first stop is at a bakery, under an hour. Its a good place to eat fresh food, use the toilets and take some fresh air.

8. In about 3 hours, the bus reaches the Cambodian side of border. You wait in the bus. It took us 30 minutes to get through. During this time, you can buy VND because unlike Cambodia, it is the local currency which works in Vietnam. The exchange rates looked fair (23000 VND for a dollar) or even better than some places in Saigon. You can also buy a SIM card, as long as you can manage to strike a conversation in Vietnamese.

9. Then the bus drives for another 100 meters and now you are in VN. A police officer climbed up our bus and looked at each passport and each person. Quite quick. You still remain in the bus and after about 30 minutes, the bus guy comes back with your passport stamped. You are done now :-)

10. Now you are in VN. Enjoy the vast expanses of paddy fields and millions of 2-wheelers. At about 11.30 ,the bus stops for food (included in the fare). Good decent food.

And then at about 2, it drops you at the Can Tho bus station. You can hail the green taxi easily. Like all the bus stations, there would be always be a few taxi guys who you should avoid. But hailing a taxi and going by the meter has not been difficult for me ever in Vietnam so just sit tight and you would find a good guy to take you to all of Vietnam.

And that finishes our bus trip.

If you have come looking for this info and if this reduces some of your anxiety and helps you plan your trip then please leave a comment. :-)

I am already dreaming another trip to Vietnam.

14 Comments

  • Smita Dhall says:

    Thank you putting this together. This information was so hard to dig from various sources, execute and validate this. I hope this will be very helpful for all. I’d like to add that the bus transport system is very smooth and effective in South East Asia. This particular bus was still much above the average ‘super-deluxe’ bus that we get in India. The price that included and good bowl of hot meal (with choices of meat and noodles/rice) was excellent.

  • Auro M says:

    Hi Nanadan,

    Seems you had an an exotic trip while enjoying abundant earthy flavours.

    After Thailand, Cambodia / Vietnam were natural extension of our dreams of Ghumakkari destinations. Your rendition encourages us further in that direction.

    Could you please expound on Visa regimen – I thought we needed separate visas for the two countries without inter-connectivity options. Is it possible (sorry, how is it done ?) wherein you get into Cambodia and fly out of Vietnam.

    And now that we are at it, any recommendations on airlines/ fares, etc.

    Thanks for the enlightening post.

    Auro.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hey Auro,

      So nice to hear from you.

      1. VISA to cambodia is easy. It is available online, you pay online, you get a print that you show at immigration.

      2. VISA to Vietnam is available on arrival but I would suggest that you secure it here. There is a embassy in Delhi and you would need to submit the papers and the regular drill. We were entering Vietnam from a smaller/lesser-known place so we got it from here. Usually, for all the places we have been going, we are securing VISAs from India.

      You need two VISAs but you can easily cross border by road. There are buses going to either side all the time.

      We took China Southern and paid about 94K for three of us. We booked 2.5 months in advance.

      The route was 1. Delhi – Guangzhou – SiemReap
      2. Saigon (HCMC) – Guangzhou – Delhi

      We did Siem Reap – Pnom Penh, Pnom Penh – Can Tho, Can Tho – Saigon by road.

      Since there is no direct flight, I would suggest that you try to take a break depending on what flight you are picking (China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore).

      All the best.

  • Nandan,
    Your coach/bus rides to places in Cambodia instantly reminded me of the LTC vacations with my family during my school days! Nowadays, not many travel stories documented about such journeys you know!
    I have heard Vietnamese are extremely friendly and hospitable. Did you feel so too? Any special anecdotes to share?
    Very good write-up..Kudos!

    Best.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Thank you Archana.

      Actually more than friendly, I would say that they are very very peaceful/not-loud/non-agressive people.

      To share an experience, we discovered the traffic on the road was extremely chaotic, courtesy thousands of 2 wheelers. But no one was honking, no one was shouting or giving stares or things like that. It was something hard to imagine, especially in a place where I commute (Noida/Ghaziabad). I do not think whether it is the religion (Buddhism) which makes them go quiet/easy/calm or just plain civic-sense. Whatever it is, as someone from India, it was an extremely welcome break for us.

      Wishes.

  • Souvik Sarkar says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Your post has given us immense confidence to directly travel to Can Tho through Chau Doc.

    We are about to apply for Vietnam eVisa to enter vietnam from Cambodia where port of entry is must. Please share one information that which border(port of entry) did you cross to enter Veitnam.

    Thanks & All the best for your future trips,

    Souvik

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Souvik for the praise. At least someone is reading these posts :-)

    We secured our Viet Visa from here in Delhi, since we planned to cross the border from a smaller/less-frequented port. I do not recall what did we fill finally in the ‘Port of entry’ since it was a paper-form and I do not have the digital version of it. May be if you look it up, there could be a name you can find. Best wishes.

    • Veronique Roudier says:

      Many many thanks for your post about the trip Phnom Penh to CanTho. I was like you before doing the trip. I had read old blogs about this trip and did not khnow if it was still possible. We did it on 13 of dec. 2017 and eveything was perfect. Departur 6 am arrival 2.30 pm for 16 dollars. No need for visa to enter Vietnam if you are european and stay less than 2 weeks.
      Your blog really reassured me before departure. Thanks and all the very best for future travels.
      Veronica from France

  • Jascha says:

    I just did the trip in March 2018 and everything worked exactly the way you described it – great work!

    Just one more info that might be helpful for people, who want to use an e-visa:
    The border crossing takes place via Than Thiem, so you can use an e-visa (check the actual list of borders on the website to be sure).

  • Lorenzo says:

    Thank you for this info!
    Do you remember if the bus stop also in Chau Doc (maybe in one of the food/toilet stop)?
    Wikitravel (https://wikitravel.org/en/Chau_Doc) mentions this bus and the possibility to stop in Chau Doc, but I don’t find other similar info on internet.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Thank you Lorenzo.

      I looked up Chau Doc and it seems to be on the way but I do not recall the name. But if Chau Doc is actually on the route (or even a few miles away), then you should be able to request a stop. Unlike Europe/US, Vietnam seemed more like India where a bus can make a quick stop, anywhere.
      All the best.

  • PUNG Siong Yee (Mr) says:

    Dear Nandan Sir,
    Thank you so much for the detailed 10 point (and most helpful post) on where to get to the Bus Express and Travel (Cambodia) in Phnom Penh. In my opinion, it is the most definitive guide so far as to travel by this bus company from Phnom Penh to Can Tho (Vietnam) that I can find. Thank you for the photos.
    Now that we have Google Maps to thank, there is indeed a petrol station at the junction of Street 230 and St 215 (incidentally named Jawarhalal Nehru Blvd), as you mentioned. I also located the Lili 6666 (not, as you said, Lily 6466, but it’s good enough for sure) opposite the bus office using Google Maps.
    I will be going this Nov 2018 from Phnom Penh to Can Tho. I hope to be able to do the trip like you, and thank you for “lessening some your anxiety”.
    I have one question, if you don’t mind: Would it be easy to get a tuk-tuk at 5.00 am in the morning, since I would have to get a ride early at that hour to get from my hotel to Street 230?
    Thank you very much again for your great help! Namaste
    Regards,
    Siong Yee
    Greetings from Singapore.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Hey Siong,
    Glad that it was of some use to you.

    As for TukTuk, we found that it is not hard to find a TukTuk in the morning. What we did was the we reserved a TukTuk the previous day and took his phone number. We booked the same TukTuk which we used to find this place so we did not have to do any navigation the next morning.

    All the best and do tell us if things are same/changed after your trip. Wishes and lucks.
    nandan

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